“If Big Brother saves lives, then I’m happy to be Big Brother.” – Florida’s Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson
What is it about modern Western Civilization that has often caused people to trade things of greater value (wisdom, integrity, honor, liberty) for something of lesser or more ambiguous worth? Is it a misplaced hope, selfish interests, or a lacking in full comprehension of what’s truly at stake? For instance: take closed circuit television cameras (CCTV). These days, people can’t seem to walk (or drive) one city block without coming across several. We’re told they are there to keep us, and our property safe. But really, why so many? And more troubling still, how did the once nightmarish “Orwellian” future of constant observation become implemented with many folks simply unconcerned?
As the poster child of Government surveillance, red light cameras have become a hot-button issue for many liberty-minded activists, and rightly so. For instance, Photoenforced.com’s database lists 33 red light traffic cameras for Kansas City, and 87 for St. Louis. But while red-light cameras do present a sticky Constitutional issue, more disturbing is the often unnoticed concern of literally hundreds of cameras scattered across Missouri’s major roadways. (Please see The Eye in the Sky Graphic included below, or click Trafficland.com for more information)
The answer behind these cameras (and more) may lie with the U.S. Department of Transportation, who has been pushing for increased monitoring and control not only over the roadways in our communities, but also over the vehicles and operators themselves. In 1998, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, under Section 5117 of the Transportation Equity Act stated that Congress required the U.S. Department of Transportation to “conduct research on the deployment of a system of advanced sensors and signal processors in trucks and tractor-trailers to determine axle and wheel alignment, monitor collision alarm, check tire pressure and tire balance conditions, measure and detect load distribution in the vehicle, and adjust automatic braking systems.” Continue Reading →